Coming into this year’s Yoga Spirit Festival, I was feeling a little low in energy and spirit. I was doubtful if I would be able to cope with all the classes and talks. With the struggles I’ve had with my lack of consistent yoga classes lately, it was clear that I was not as healthy as I was and should be. But, I went anyway.
And it ended being the best decision I made all year.
This year’s festival was held in nearby Genting Highlands (famous for cool weather, a theme park and casinos). Luckily for me, the venue was nowhere near any of these distractions. My sister was, thankfully, with me and I was able to get on with the hour-long drive with no sudden detour to said theme park and casinos.
Despite that, I still wondered how I was going to get through two days of yoga and meditation. I was rather worried that my weak and tired body would not be able to fully immerse in all the wonderful classes.
My first Power Core Flow class with the amazing Maizan ended up being the wake-up call I needed to embrace this festival – it was all about the spirit and the mind.
So, what exactly did I take away with me from this wonderful weekend?
Be Present : No matter what we do in our daily lives, be in the NOW. Be aware of the moment that you’re in. Forget about the past or the worries of the future. Just focus on you and the present.
Honour Your Body : We tend to push ourselves more than we should in yoga classes and any other fitness classes, for that matter. But what we fail to realise is that our body may have limitations and may not want to co-operate when it comes to certain poses or movements. Respect those limitations and try a variation instead. The key is to keep practicing and someday those limitations will no longer be there. Your body will thank you for it.
Happiness Is Your Own Choice : How. So. True! I spent a good chunk of my teen years (and twenties) being sad and depressed, not knowing that I could have easily made the choice to be happy. Instead of blaming others for whatever predicament I was in, I should have made more of a conscious effort to work on me. Thankfully, I do so now and my life is all the better for it.
You Deserve Your Love : There are times in our lives where we may feel we are not good enough for anyone or anything. What we fail to see is that we need self-love, more than anyone else’s affections or approvals. We need to pay attention to the heart within and give ourselves the gift of our own love and appreciation. If we can’t love ourselves, how can we expect someone else to show us the love we deserve?
Yoga Is Freedom : According to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is the cessation of the mind. When we stop thinking about everything and practice yoga wholeheartedly, we reach a level of freedom like no other. As some would say – still the body, still the mind. It is not something that can be achieved easily, but with constant practice and learning, we can give ourselves that choice to be truly free.
Don’t Follow Anyone : Deep, who is the founder of this festival, made it very clear that we should not follow anyone blindly or turn them into our idols. Yes, we can admire them for their strengths and qualities, but we need to remember that we need to be the best versions of ourselves. And not a carbon copy of someone else. Which is good to know because now I can continue admiring Gwen Stefani for being the awesome person that she is.
Open Your Heart and Mind : Travelling has played a major part in cultivating this in me. We go someplace new not knowing what to expect and, at times, what to seek. And then something magical happens or we meet someone new that changes us as a person, even just a little bit. I didn’t know what to expect when I went for the first Asian Women’s Empowerment Conference last year. I was coming off a stressed week at work and I was feeling listless. But I met some amazing ladies there who gave me so much advice and confidence; and most importantly, their beautiful friendships. I was so inspired to continue with my travel blog knowing that I had some great people to learn from.
Always Bless Yourself : In Asia, we get a lot of blessings in temples and churches, and also from our elders. But we never think about blessing our own selves. It may sound a bit strange at first. But, once we embrace the fact that we are responsible for our own choices, then why not? From time to time, we should bless our own selves so that we can go forth and be the incredible beings we were meant to be.
Teachers Come and Go, But Your Body Will Always Be With You : This is very much tied in to honouring your own body. But I have never heard it said in this way before. Anna Suvorova’s “Power of Choice” flow class was so enlightening as she made us realise that we have a choice when it comes to our bodies. We ALWAYS have a choice. We need to listen to our bodies and choose the options that work best for us.
Everything Is OK! : This is easier said than done, of course. There are days when the stress levels can consume you and all you want to do is punch somebody in the face. Now, how can we say to ourselves that everything is ok at a time like that? Well, the best way would be to take a step back, walk away and breathe. It may not work all the time but with enough practice, we can control how we react to certain situations.
A weekend that I was needlessly worrying about ended up being such a fulfilling and rejuvenating experience. I felt so much love, joy and compassion in those two days. It was a moment that needed to happen for me; not just from the perspective of my practice, but for improving my way of life.
I now truly believe that with consistency and love, I can learn to honour myself, my life and my practice more. Namaste.
~ Rabindranath Tagore